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Education Specialist/Economist

World Bank Group is currently seeking applications from eligible applicants for the post of Education Specialist/Economist based in  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally.


The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions and thirteen Global Practices to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.



Education is central to achieving the World Bank Group’s twin goals:  it is a reliable route out of poverty because it has large and consistent returns to income for individuals and because it can drive economic growth. It is also a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity.  The main challenge in the education sector is to achieve “learning for all, learning for life”—that is, to ensure that all children and young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for their lives and livelihoods.  The developing world has achieved great advances in education in the past two decades, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality. Yet these successes in expanding access to education have highlighted the major remaining challenges:  how to remove the educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile states, and how to improve the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning.  The WBG and the broader education development community are increasingly shifting focus to learning outcomes. Because traditional input-driven programs often fail to promote learning, the WBG’s education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive systems approach to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach is about increasing accountability and targeting results, as a complement to providing inputs.  And it also requires strengthening the knowledge base on education, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective solutions are.  These efforts are increasingly guided by the need to invest early; invest smartly; and invest for all.  Through high-quality analytical work, collection and curation of evidence, and practical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helping its partner countries accelerate their educational progress


The Education Global Practice is led by a Senior Director, who has overall responsibility for the practice. The Senior Director is assisted by two Directors.  The Education Global Practice Management Team, which is the group that leads and manages the GP, consists of the Senior Director, two Directors and nine Practice Managers.




The World Bank Group serves 48 client countries in the Africa Region (AFR). Clients range from low income countries among them many fragile and conflict states to a small but growing number of middle income countries (MICs) but with weak human development indicators. Average annual per capita income varies widely and inequalities persist in most AFR countries, with most of the Region’s people living in poverty. The Bank’s strategy in AFR is focused on two pillars – competitiveness and employment, and vulnerability and resilience – and a foundation – governance and public-sector capacity.


The Education Sector Unit for Eastern Africa is responsible for policy, analytical and operational work in the education sector in the sub-region. The unit currently has a portfolio of IDA projects, Trust Funds and major studies and technical assistance products in IDA and middle-income countries.  The portfolio spans the full spectrum of the education sector from early childhood education to higher education and research. The unit is committed to delivering high quality technical products to support education development in the Bank’s client countries, and to do so in a manner that builds capacity through collaborative interactions with country counterparts.

The unit’s core goals are to  (i) expand coverage of early childhood development in a cost-effective manner (ii) ensure universal completion of quality primary/basic education (iii)  improve learning outcomes, particularly in reading, mathematics and science and (iv) expand access to and quality of secondary, TVET and higher education, with a focus on applied sciences, engineering and technology and strengthening the links between post-basic education systems and labor markets. The unit is also developing innovative approaches to education, including the use of ICT to expand access and improve quality and results-based modalities for Bank projects. It tries to achieve these goals through education sector interventions (financial and analytical) and through interventions in other sectors that influence education outcomes, as well as through partnership activities with a variety of partners.

The Bank has recently published a World Development Report on Education (Learning to Realize the Promise of Education) and a flagship report on the quality of basic education in Sub-Saharan Africa (Facing Forward: Schooling for Learning in Africa). These form the basis of the unit’s work to improve learning working with our clients.  The Bank has also produced recent reports on higher education and skills, including work done under the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) and analytical pieces and briefs on Ethiopia’s education sector.

Education play a central role in the efforts by the Government of Ethiopia to transform its economy, reduce poverty and create jobs. Starting from one of the lowest levels of education coverage in sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia has rapidly moved to expand access in primary education as well as in other levels. It is also placing great emphasis on improving quality of education, and in developing technical-scientific capability. The country seeks to learn from international good practices, including from the countries of Asia and Latin America, and is also striving to adapt these practices within the Ethiopian context.   However, learning levels and retention remain low at the primary level, and affect the quality of education at higher levels.  There are problems of efficiency and accountability in the sector.

The Bank’s work in the education sector in Ethiopia, with a demanding client, is multi-dimensional.  The education GP manages a large project, financed by IDA, GPE and a multi-donor Trust Fund, focused on improving quality in basic and secondary education.  In addition, there are two stand-alone GPE projects, one under preparation.  The education team works closely with the SP team and other GPs.  With a rapidly urbanizing population and the drive to develop manufacturing, thinking of new collaborative approaches with non-HD practices is also critical. There is a significant program of analytical/ TA work, including PERs, assessments of particular sub-sectors such as higher education, skills and early childhood education.

At the post-basic level, Ethiopia is participating in two flagship regional projects – the  Africa Centres of Excellence project, as well as the  East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration project.    With support from the Bank, the Ministry of Education is also participating in regional initiatives, such as the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology(PASET). Ethiopia’s efforts to integrate in the regional economy and to transform its economy to develop manufacturing and services requires building up a skilled base.  However, the higher education and skills sub-sectors suffer from inefficiency and poor quality.  The creation of a new Ministry of Higher Education , which covers universities as well as TVET, provides an opportunity for better leadership and management of the sub-sector, as well as to engage in new models of delivery, including the use of technology.

Ethiopia has started innovating in Bank operations with the use of disbursement-linked indicators in the regional projects, and Program for Results in general education.

The unit is seeking a Education Specialist/Economist to work in the Ethiopia country office to provide operational and analytical support to the TTLs in charge of different projects. The primary focus of the work is on skills and higher education, with a particular focus on the use of ICT, but as required by business needs, the candidate may be required to support other projects and programs.


The advertised position is a locally recruited position based in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

Roles & Responsibilities:-

The Education Specialist/Economist will work under the supervision of the Education Practice Manager. S/he will support the daily management of the Ethiopia education portfolio and is expected to be responsible for the following tasks and duties:


  1. Provide operational support, including monitoring project activities, identification of potential implementation bottlenecks/challenges, and day-today coordination with implementing agencies, primarily the Ministry of Education and other government Ministries and educational institutions. The primary focus is on the regional projects on higher education and skills.
  2. Carry out responsibilities for a variety of operational tasks and participate as a full member of a multi-sectoral team and undertake specific assignments of project preparation, appraisal and supervision in his/her field of expertise. Review and process operational documents, coordinating across project components with other team members.
  3. In close coordination with the Procurement Specialist and Financial Management Specialist  and under the supervision of the TTL, contribute to the efficient processing of all procurement requests and withdrawal applications.
  4. Coordinate with donors and partners, especially those working on higher education and skills, and under the direction of the TTLs, present the Bank team’s views and assessments and report to the TTLs on these discussions and any issues raised.
  5. Participate and contribute technical inputs during missions, as needed, including assisting the TTL with all mission-related outputs, including SMOs (Statements of Mission Objectives), Aide –Memoires, and BTORs (Back to Office Reports).Analytical work
  6. Provide inputs to and/or prepare diverse analytical and operational products (e.g. sector and country briefings, background reports, case studies, portfolio performance reviews, etc.)
  7. Help develop the dialogue with the government, especially on higher education and skills, adapting knowledge and resources from other countries where relevant.Partnership
  8. Contribute to partnership activities on a regular basis, including the work on the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) and ensuring effective liaison with the government.Others
  9. Carry out other duties and tasks as assigned by the Practice Manager and the relevant project Task Team Leaders or whomsoever they may designate. Respond to ad hoc information requests from internal and external parties. 

Selection Criteria

  • Education:  At least a Master’s degree in Education/ Economics/ Development or other relevant field.
  • Experience:  A minimum of 5 years of relevant international work experience is required, part of which is preferably in Ethiopia or another sub-Saharan African country.  Experience in working on projects.  Familiarity with World Bank operations, including preparation and implementation support of projects is very desirable but not essential.
  • High levels of energy, initiative, persistence and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements. Ability to find practical solutions and persist with engaging with government, sometimes on difficult issues.  Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to country and management requests, and set priorities for self and others.
  • Analytical/technical skills: Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in addressing education sector issues and proven ability to engage in policy dialogue and find openings for engagement. Ability to adapt lessons from other countries to the local context.
  • Knowledge: Good understanding of the key issues, dynamics and evolution of the education sector in Ethiopia, including issues covered in the World Development Report on Learning and the Africa regional study on the quality of basic education. Knowledge of issues in higher education and skills in Ethiopia/ SSA countries is required.
  • Partnership: Ability to work with a large variety of partners, including those from Asia, and build consensus with tact and persistence.
  • Strong client orientation and excellent interpersonal skills: Proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively with government agencies and within and across sector boundaries; ability to identify problems, provide technical support, build consensus and arrive at solutions; commitment to excellence and teamwork, and to liaise tactfully as a member of a multi-sectoral team.
  • Language: Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are essential; knowledge of Ethiopian languages is highly desirable. 


  • Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.
  • Education Knowledge and Experience – Possesses experience in working on challenging education projects, and policy-relevant analytical work
  • Integrative Skills – Understands relevant cross-sectoral areas how they are interrelated; able to undertake cross-sectoral work in lending and non-lending operations.
  • Deliver Results for Clients – Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client.
  • Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – Initiates collaboration across boundaries and broadly across WBG, and brings differing ideas into the forefront.
  • Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Creates, applies and shares knowledge from across and outside WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions.

The World Bank Group values diversity and encourages all qualified candidates who are nationals of World Bank Group member countries to apply, regardless of gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.  Sub-Saharan African nationals, Caribbean nationals, and female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.